Over the Shoulder

A Wild Night at a Frat Party

What an odd-looking girl, I thought as I peered through the cracked door. 

“Who did you say you were again?”  The voice asked 

“Um, I’m Ran, a friend of Kevin’s who is not part of this fraternity but invited me up this weekend cuz’ he knows some brothers.  He told me to come here.” 

“Sorry dude, but this is a costume party and you aren’t in costume, so I can’t let you in.” 

“Your kidding, right?” I replied.

“No man, it’s a fuckin’ Halloween party for Christ’s sake. You need to have a costume to get in.” 

Sometimes it pays to be confident in whatever you do. Even if you are nobody and the situation doesn’t call for it. Most times it works out, other times it does not and may leave you in a pool of your owl blood.

He opened the door and moved aside for a gaggle of girls coming in from behind me, whom I might add, were not in costume either. 

He shut the door on me, but I stiff armed it before he could.

“Hey man, you just let them in without costumes?” I said.

“They have vaginas.” he said.

He had me there.  

“Fair enough.” I said.

I left the entryway as a crowd rushed in, some in costumes, some not. All of whom were let in. That fucker! 

I walked back to my car parked on campus, entertaining along the way the many makeshift costumes I could fabricate from the items in my car to get myself into the party.

Cell phones didn’t exist, but beepers did. Drug dealers, which we were not, mostly used beepers.

Using some branches, I could be a tree. If I ripped out a neighboring mailbox, I could go as a mail carrier, or….. Ah yes, I have an old Red Sox jersey slammed in between the back seat and the trunk crevasse. The jersey had oil and grease stained spots on it and it smelled as it looked like a mechanic’s shop. Wrinkled with months of neglect was no way to treat a Sox jersey. Especially the late great Teddy Ballgame’s number nine. 

I threw the oil crusted jersey on and for good measure I smudged some grease under both my eyes like the pros do. This will definitely get me past that fucking gatekeeper.

I got to the door, and the pissant guard looked at me and with absolute disgust says, “Really, really dude, is this what it has come to?” 

I had to laugh inside. It was a bit of laughable desperation. If it wasn’t for my buddies and the thought of pussy, I wouldn’t have shown up. But once I made the journey, I was committed to getting in, no matter what.

I kept the laughter to myself and didn’t say a word. I just shrugged with a smile. What could he do? I had a costume on?

He let me in but gave me a pat on the back for determination and ingenuity or the fact that he knew I would not give up and letting me in saved him a lot of hassle.

The place was packed and smelled of sweat, mold, stale beer, cigarettes, and weed. As soon as I arrived, I felt a negative energy in this place, not only from the gatekeeper’s behavior but also from the overall atmosphere. A static that you only know deep down inside when shit is brewing and waiting in the air for you to walk through so it can attack you when you are most vulnerable.

I pushed my way through the first congregation of kids and into the first open room, which was where a band was playing a talking heads tune, Cities.

I scanned the faces, but didn’t recognize anyone. The presence of the frat brothers was apparent. The elders, or whatever you call the upper classmen that think they are the shit, had newbie pledges on dog leashes positioned on all fours barking like dogs in their tightly whiteys lapping beer from a dog bowl.

These poor kids actually did this willingly? Who, in their right mind, would go to such lengths to be accepted and conform?

The gloom got heavier. 

A loud group chant came from what seemed the basement area. I wiggled through a cluster of costumes, one being Shakes the Clown, another Chunk from Goonies and a clever mammogram machine which but looked uncomfortable.

At the bottom of the wooden basement stairs, my feet landed in a quarter inch thick sludge of beer, sweat and who knows what else. I slid as I moved over to the center of the room. By this point, I had shed the jersey and wiped the grease from my face. It was a decent Trojan horse. 

“Fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen”, the crowd chanted.

“OOOOOOHHHHHH”, the legs up in the air came slamming down. A frat brother raised his superman cape in the air and taunted another brother to beat his time, which just beat the brother before him.

Despite scanning the area again, no familiar face could be made out in the crowd. Kevin said he was with the normal crew. They should be around here. 

“whabata far sarewtyuir?” A girl yelled in my ear. I turned to her, bent down and yelled in her ear over the pounding music, “I can’t hear ya!”  

“”What?”, she said. 

“Idontaknowhwtatasaying” 

“What?” 

I shook my head with a shrug to let her know that the vocal communication was not possible. A cute girl, but nothing to shake a stick at before a few beers. Unsure if she wanted me to move out of her way or start a family together.

I grabbed her by the face with both hands and landed a quick soft kiss on her cheek. She smiled and moved on. 

The sound waves were God-level fucking loud. People appeared nauseous, as if affecting everyone’s mentality. The low end was rattling my insides, making me want to shit or puke. The high-end frequencies attacked my head like darts.  

“Ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, oooooohhhhhhh”, another frat brother submitted to the keg stand under an infant’s time. I squeezed through the crowd, not making much friends in doing so.

“Seriously”, a girl shouted as I nuzzled her aside.

She motioned to her boyfriend about something and pointed to me. He moved her aside and got in my face. He must have seen the ‘I don’t give a fuck’ scars on my face and the look in my eye because he stood down quickly with no more fanfare.  

I made it to the other side of the basement near the backyard double door. I grabbed a red solo cup, when a hand covered mine.  

“Ten bucks buddy” 

I was in the zone 

“You don’t know who I am, do you?” 

He laughed at first and when I didn’t back down, his smile diminished and said, “No, who are you?” 

“Exactly” I said.

He looked at me with puzzlement and let his hand off mine, and I filled the cup.

Sometimes it pays to be confident in whatever you do. Even if you are nobody and the situation doesn’t call for it. Most times it works out, other times it does not and may leave you in a pool of your owl blood.

My feet accumulated a buildup of a disgusting crust around the soles of my sneaks. I stepped into another room connected to the basement. This place was a maze. The room seemed to be under the deck, like a closed in patio.

I watched puke from the deck floor board slits above dripping onto a girl’s hair, unbeknownst to her. I stepped around the incident and walked out into the backyard to take a new assessment of my surroundings. The place was fucking packed and gross. It was a frat party like the ones on TV. College kids rocking out on who knows what drugs are and fucking on the back lawn.

I sat on the lawn to collect myself. What the fuck was I doing here? The girls all seemed fake and uninteresting, and the frat boys were stereotypical chest beating morons and trying their best to play the part. 

A frat brother was guarding the keg, confirming wrist bands for those who had paid to drink and I needed a drink.

“Come on, brother!” I yelled into his ear. 

He paid no attention to me. I raised my cup under the spout he was holding and pumped the top. He slapped my hand off the pump and gave me a look that only a kid with beer muscles would give. I knew that look, and I respected it and raised my hands, still holding my cup as a peace offering.  

The heavy vibe was gaining weight as the moonlight shifted in the sky. The clouds rolled across the moon like a time lapse video. Freshly cut grass and the smell of puke tugged at my nose. I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. My day drinking buzz had morphed into a kind of tranquil state where the weed and booze had my system hostage.  

These people are vampires, I thought. 

A frat brother when up into a keg stand. “Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen…” with a swiping motion I pushed his legs down. He quickly regained his footing, found out I was the one that pushed him off and swung at me. I backed off just in time. Someone hit my head from behind with a fist. I saw double for a brief second, only to take another shot square in the face from someone else. I was being triple teamed.

The entire fraternity overwhelmed me with punches. I hunkered down in a fetal position in the sludge. Kicked and punched and spit on. 

I had no one to help me. It must have been the laughing that made them stop beating me. I was laughing uncontrollably while curled into a ball on the floor.

“Come on, ya fuckers” I yelled.

Belly laughing while taking kicks to the ribs. One at a time, they backed off, probably more disturbed by my behavior than theirs. I stood. Blood leaked from the corner of my mouth and my right eye swelled and throb. I couldn’t help it. I laughed at all of them. They were all such pussies. I challenged them each to a one on one, one after the other. No one accepted.  

“Bring it on mother fuckas” I yelled.

No movement.

I laughed at them as I spun in circles, daring the next one to make a move at me now that I was on my feet. The crowd split open in a path towards me. This had to be my grand finale of frat boy reinforcements or the cops.   

People stepped back, allowing me to access the back patio. Holding my rib cage, I realized I was leaning on a collection of kegs in storage and in rotation for the night.

Like any drunken debacle, everyone lost focus and moved on to something else.

The tension in the air had lifted.  

I calmly walked to the corner of the building to peak for anyone coming and with one swoop of motion, I threw a half barrel over my shoulder.

The sloshing of the beer threw me off balance at first until I could acclimate myself to the proper sway of the counter balance needed. Front to back and front again. My equilibrium remained disrupted, yet my laughter and cackle continued.

A frat brother grabbed my arm to spin me and said, “Hey, what the fuck? What are you doing?” 

I threw him a sales man smile with a little blood still in my teeth and replied, “I’m grabbing a barrel for Mike upstairs.” 

I don’t know if Mike was an actual person or if I had the warrior aura; he didn’t give me any static and let me go. I didn’t turn up the side yard to the top deck, instead I walked right through the huge downward backyard of fresh-cut grass, sloshing and weaving.

I heard the kid mumbling something, but I didn’t give a fuck. No way was he going to catch the heat from his frat brothers for someone walking off with one of their kegs under his watch. Perhaps he let it go as a loss.

I stumbled three-quarters of the way down the back yard slope and could see the reverse lights of Johnny Boy’s hatchback pulling up to the footpath. Commotion of frat brothers grew behind me as they figured out what was going on.   

“What is that dude doing?” 

“Where is he going?” 

“Is he fucking stealing our barrel?” 

“Mother fucka, he’s taking our barrel…” 

I had a hell of a time staying upright after being kicked in the head multiple times and with a full barrel on my right shoulder running down an embankment.

The pitter-patter of running feet grew closer. If it was a movie, it would have been in slow motion.

I didn’t need to say shit to Johnny Boy. He had the hatch back open and was waiting in the driver’s seat with his foot on the clutch. I jumped over the three century old farmer’s stone wall, heaved the barrel into the back of the car and jumped on top of it. Before I was completely in the car, Johnny popped the clutch and let the four cylinders go.

By keeping the headlights off, Johnny ensured the car’s plates and make remained hidden.

We were out of there. 

The moon shined brightly as I lay next to the barrel, gasping for breath. Johnny boy banged on the steering wheel and ceiling.

“yeahhhhh, you fuckah, yeahhhhh, I can believe you just did that…..yeahhhhh” 

“How the fuck did you know I was coming?”  I asked.

“Huh? He replied.

I repeated myself, but the rotted exhaust left a deep roar too loud to communicate.

I pondered how he knew. I held my ribs from the laughter.

Damn, looks like we have some beer to drink.

New England College, Henniker NH. Circa ‘96

Way Past Tipsy - ran kime

Read “Over the Shoulder” and other stories by Ran Kime in the collection Way Past Tipsy & Other Silent Cries for Help

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Ran Kime Writer
Ran Kime, a writer, poet, musician and recluse from New Hampshire, crafts abstract stories, flash fiction & poetry that probe the psyche. His collections include “Spectre of the Brocken: Halo for the observer” and “Way Past Tipsy & Other Silent Cries for Help”.